By NIKKI YOUNK
NIAGARA, Wis. - Snowmobiling, four-wheeling, and playing football - all of these are activities that German exchange student Vincent Bezold has experienced for the first time while spending the academic year at Niagara High School.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Exchange student Vincent Bezold works in the wood shop at Niagara High School. He has enjoyed taking classes, such as woods and welding, at Niagara that he does not have the opportunity to take at his school in Germany.
"It's a huge difference," he said of life in northeast Wisconsin. "I like it - there's lots of snow, lots of stuff to do - I'm happy to be here."
Vincent comes from Stuttgart, a city of about 600,000 people in southern Germany. While in Niagara, he has been hosted by the Holly and Scott Learned family.
Since he has been in America, Vincent has noticed a strong emphasis on sports both in school and in the culture in general.
Not only has Vincent participated on the Northern Elite football team, he has also attended a Minnesota Vikings game in Minneapolis. He described his host father Scott and host grandparents as big Vikings fans.
"I've never been to a football game before," he said. "Germany is all about soccer."
Also new to Vincent are the industrial arts classes that Niagara High School has to offer. He enrolled in both the woods and welding courses this year.
Vincent explained that his German school focuses more on academic subjects than on technical subjects. He said that although German schools are more challenging, American schools seem to give out more homework.
When asked why he wanted to be an exchange student, Vincent said that he simply wanted the experience of a different culture and a different family.
In Germany, Vincent has an older brother. Here, he has younger host sisters who are twins. He described them as "full of energy and always active."
Vincent is a big fan of his host mother's cooking. However, he finds that American cuisine as a whole is "not the healthiest food, but still good."
When Vincent returns to Germany, he said that he will either continue attending his current school or start going to a new one. If he stays with his old school, he will only have two years to complete before graduation. If he decides to switch, he will have three years left before graduation.
Vincent plans on attending a German university, but he would love to come back to the area at some point in the future for a visit with his host family. He also hopes that his host family will find time to come see him in Germany.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.